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Sept-les, Thursday, December 19, 2002 Last Monday, the City Council of Sept-les announced its decision to grant the garbage collection contract to INNU Construction Inc., an incomprehensible choice according to the city’s outside workers. The latter had submitted a service offer to the municipality to do this work, which would have saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to the submission that was accepted.

“What we can glean from this story is that right from the start, the city administration had excluded the possibility of having the garbage and recyclable materials collected in-house by municipal employees,” said Berthold Gagnon, union representative at CUPE. According to the union, the city deliberately inflated the figures in the outside workers’ offer and added unnecessary expenses to discredit and marginalize the municipal employees’ proposal. An absurd situation for CUPE, which maintained that the offer presented to the city complied with the requirements provided by the city and would have enabled the municipality to make substantial savings.

“That’s a classic example of poor management based on a politically-motivated decision. In order to not award the contract to outside workers, the politicians decided to make the citizens of Sept-les foot the bill. That decision is unacceptable it’s a waste of public funds!” added Berthold Gagnon. CUPE doesn’t intend to stand by idly and is preparing its next move. First the union will ask the Ministre des Affaires Municipales et de la Mt0072opole, Andr 0042oiclair, to conduct an inquiry into the process that surrounded the awarding of this contract (2002-3300). “In our opinion, the rules surrounding the award of this type of contract were not respected and the outside workers’ offer was not treated fairly. If we’d proposed more costly services than the private companies, we’d understand, but that’s not the case, which is what makes this affair scandalous,” stated Berthold Gagnon. Outside workers will thus pay close attention to the quality of service offered by INNU Construction, and to the extra costs that may be shouldered by the taxpayers of Sept-les. In addition, they will regularly demand that the city be accountable for the implementation of the contract.

Finally, the union hopes to debunk the rumour that the sub-contractor would take the municipal employees’ working conditions into account in his dealings with his staff. This information is false and unfounded. The sub-contractor has never applied the terms of the outside workers’ contract and has not indicated any intention of doing so, either. Furthermore, a hearing before the new Labour Relations Board will be held at the end of January to have the outside workers’ collective agreement recognized by INNU Construction and thereby ensure that corresponding working conditions will be applied. Moreover, a new request to apply Article 45 of the Labour Code will be filed for the new contract awarded on December 16.

CUPE represents about 70% of all municipal employees in Quebec. In addition to the municipal sector, CUPE is present in 10 other sectors in Quebec, including health care and social services, education, urban public transit, airlines, hydroelectric power, crown corporations and public agencies in Quebec, and communications. With a total of close to 100,000 members in Quebec, it is the largest union affiliated with the FTQ.

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